Rome under Renovation

Rome under Renovation

One of the dreams Explorason had at the onset of this trip was to visit The Roman Colosseum.  So with some recent changes in our itinerary, this was a surprising place to be but we are surprised to find a lot of Rome under renovation.


©Exploramum and Explorason – The Colosseum from inside

There it is before us as we emerge from the Metro. The Colosseo.  We lined up for 3 hours for our tickets. We really had a great time in the line, as we met the nicest of people and shared travel stories the whole time. In fact, the time flew by.

One whole side of the Colosseum was under mesh and scaffolding. It was ‘Rome under renovation’.

So when we entered we really loved the upper floor view. Before us is the Arco di Costantino and to the right Arco di Tito.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Arco di Costantino

We really enjoyed the detail that was in the historical section. Separated and individual, these really told the history to us.


©Exploramum and Explorason – detailed plates are in the museum

To me the bust that is in fact here is outstanding. There was also separate mosaic sections, equally restored or intact with fine detail. All the heads were missing their noses.  I found this intriguing. It was incredibly hot inside and after the line-up, we were dripping.

Our tickets include 3 areas of entry including the Palantino, and we decided to come back another day to see the other areas. We were so hot and our legs just ached.

So it was the following morning that Explorason set the agenda. We were off to see Fontana de Trevi, but guess what – it is more of Rome under renovation.

But we first found this fountain – Fontana del Tritone, which is now our favorite. And hardly a tourist around.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Fontana del Tritone

We decided this was the place to throw our coin and “make a wish”. So with eyes closed, we tossed our coins into the fountain.


©Exploramum and Explorason – making a wish at our favorite fountain

Next, we headed to the Spanish Steps. It was a laugh to Explorason that this Gladiator was equipped with a mobile/cell phone and was really not that interested in his job – to pose for photos.


©Exploramum and Explorason – what is with the phone?

So when we decline the Spanish Steps we eye off mesh and scaffolding. More of Rome under renovation.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Spanish Steps

We are pretty stuffed already. The fountain in front of the steps is completely covered up and dug up. It is again Under Renovation!  This is getting to be a bit too common.

We have had a rough few days with some personal matters to sort out.

In fact, I can see Explorason is losing interest in even looking at the sights with so much of Rome under renovation.  So we stop for coffee. And it was a magnificent Cappuccino too. One thing the Italians have perfected is their coffee.


©Exploramum and Explorason – wonderful cappuccino

We leave here to go to Fontana di Trevi.  It is completely closed. Under Renovation again !!!!!

There is a pathetic man-made 1-meter puddle of water in front of a statue, and tourists line up to throw in a coin and make a wish.  This is not even feeling like Rome should feel.

I am so disappointed. Who renovates Rome in peak tourist time?  So Explorason wants to head back and have a rest.

We loved this little three wheel truck laden with vegetables.


©Exploramum and Explorason – cute 3 wheeled delivery trucks

Pinocchio is next to be photographed with. Here we talk about the fable.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Pinocchio

The next day we entered country number 33 !!!!

The Vatican.  It is deceptive.  It looks empty. It isn’t. There is a three to four-hour line up for both the Basilica San Pietro and also the Musei Vaticani. So really all the people are on the lines. In the hot sun.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Country #33 The Vatican

Waiting – and it is before 9:00 a.m.  Explorason firmly says no way.

As we leave we pass the guards. And we find a few Indian sellers with magnets and key rings for a Euro, so we buy a few and talk about making our own photo frames with them. Let’s go and make some art.  Let’s go and have fun!

So we leave here and head back to our Airbnb.


©Exploramum and Explorason – The Vatican guards

We have some time at ‘home’. I do some washing. Within 1 hour in broad daylight, his clothes are stolen off the line. Some kid now has his best shirt and shorts.  We hope they needed them!

We also decide to go and spend time when we are out with Random Acts of Kindness.  We find several people and help them. One young man, we spend a long time talking to and when we help him we feel wonderful. I leave with tears in my eyes.  It feels like life has meaning again!

Now be aware, Rome has beggars and not all are beggars.  Some are professional. Sometimes it is hard to tell. Check out the shoes, and under the nails is often a good tell-tale, but not always. In the end – go with your heart.

That afternoon we spend at a local cafe and have some internet time.

Explorason wants me to dress up and ‘go out for dinner’ so we end up opposite the Colosseum again.  We are too early for sunset and too late to enter the other 2 ruins.

Oh, how I love the Colosseum.  The sky is picture perfect against it.


©Exploramum and Explorason – late afternoon colors of the Colosseum

We find a lovely restaurant and I am joined by a charming American gentleman who works for a top Italian Designer.

It is a great place to watch the sunset and to talk fashion.

It ends up being quite late in the evening, and we have to leave to see the lights and catch the Metro back to our Air BnB.


©Exploramum and Explorason – as the sun starts to sink in the sky

As the lights laminate this historical feat, we leave and have to wander around this circular stone building one last time.

Did you know the seats used to be all marble and were ripped out?

Did you know animals were hauled up with the use of pulleys into different cages or platforms where they could not escape?

We saw and learned so much here.

Next day we pass the Palace – Palazzo Venezia, and go in, but the tours haven’t started for the day, as it is a public holiday.

We then get wrong directions from an old man and head completely in a 90% angle of where we are meant to be. No wonder it takes so long!  I think this might be Plaza Venezia we are in and we are not meant to be here?


©Exploramum and Explorason – Plaza Venezia

We pass some more ruins Area Sacra, and we spend an hour in a funky trinket store next to it.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Area Sacre

Next stop is for pasta, but at nearly $18 a packet, I give it a miss. It is still pretty cool.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Pasta Packets

We stop at a pizza place that advertises a whole Margherita Pizza for six Euro. Turns out that is a con. One slice is five Euro – I get a bit cranky with the manager as the bill comes to more than the price of 3 whole pizzas for 2 slices. Still, it was good pizza.  I had been warned to watch out for this in Rome, but the rip off took me by surprise.


©Exploramum and Explorason – Pizza rip off (in my opinion)

Next is the Pantheon.  A relative said she found this remarkable, and a ‘must see’.


©Exploramum and Explorason – outside the Pantheon

This once was a pagan building and changed to Catholic.  The natural sundial inside is amazing. There is also drains on the floor if it rains. There is a tide of people pushing to get in. It is like a tidal wave, where we are sucked in at the entrance and washed up in the center.

We sit for a while and recover, and wonder what just hit us, and I can see Explorason has lost interest He has just had enough.  So we leave. I think we are just as in awe of this illusion with this street performer. To him, it is more exciting than another old building.  It worries me that travel has got to this stage.


©Exploramum and Explorason – street performers

But the definite highlight of the day was a shop called Tiger. It is a bit like an upmarket mini IKEA. It houses a myriad of gadgets and colored items – all for a few Euro each.  It is packed and we spent an hour there. I did get a few ‘stocking fillers’ for Christmas.

And the winning item for Rome. Yes, Rome under renovation still wins!  but why? It is not history for Explorason. It is connecting clear straws!


©Exploramum and Explorason – crazy connector clear straws are a hit

So this weekend we leave Rome.  We have nowhere to stay tonight. No definite plans.  Explorason wants to “touch” something (stay tuned – we’ll tell you later what it is), and so we head there.

Our journey is taking a whole new, and unplanned chapter from here.

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5 thoughts on “Rome under Renovation

  1. Another great adventure for you two. I loved the picture of you two at the cafe framed in flowers and I enjoyed your “random acts of kindness.” You are both learning so much along your way. And those connector straws do look pretty cool!!

  2. Your overcharge pizza story brings back one of my most angry travel memories. I considered myself a veteran traveler and knew about the tourist scams for Rome. My partner and I were caught in a bit of rain while walking the monuments. We decided to get a cup of coffee and wait out the drizzle.

    We purposely walk past expensive-looking cafes to find a little hole-in-the-wall family cafe. We ordered two espressos and were convinced to try their tiramisu. The coffee was excellent and the tiramisu the best I have ever had.

    I wanted to be supportive and leave a great Google review for this “nice little mom-and-pop” cafe to help their business out. When I found their cafe’s Google page, all the reviews said: “WATCH OUT- SCAMMERS.” I realized with dread that the menu didn’t have prices. In my head, I thought, how much could it be in this “quaint little family-run cafe?”

    The answer is a lot. 2 coffees and a tiramisu cost us over $25. I was crushed that a “veteran traveler” like myself was caught in such a classic tourist scam. Ugh. Rome can be surprisingly affordable if you learn to live like a local. But if even the most experience expat can get caught in a tourist trap.

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